Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dolphin Tale

Triumph of the Animal Spirit

Director: Charles Martin Smith
Writers: Karen Janszen, Noam Dromi
Cast: Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson, Winter the Dolphin, Austin Stowell

SYNOPSIS: An introverted kid helps a beached dolphin caught up in the lines of a crab trap. Soon he finds himself drawn in to the dolphin and her recovery.

REVIEW: Prolific actor and emerging director Charles Martin Smth (Air Bud) brings to life an inspirational tale based on the story of real life dolphin Winter from a script by Karen Janszen (Free Willy 2 : The Adventure Home) and first time screenwriter Noam Dromi. With a director that has worked with animals  and a screenwriter who has written about aquatic mammals, Dolphin Tale has the makings of a good film.

Young Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble - The Mist, The Dark Knight) bids his cousin Kyle (Austin Stowell) farewell as Kyle goes from record-setting competitive swimmer to a private in the Army. Sawyer, introverted and struggling in school soon comes upon a dolphin stranded on a local beach who is wrapped up in the lines of a crab cage. As he frees the injured dolphin from the cage and ropes, the Clearwater Marine Animal Rescue unit takes over and transports the animal to their financially strapped marina. Unable to get the dolphin out of his mind, Sawyer starts skipping summer school to visit the dolphin, now named Winter. He befriends Hazel Haskett (Cozi Zuehlsdorff), her marine vet father Clay (Harry Connick Jr.), her salty grandfather Reed (Kris Kristofferson) and the rest of the Clearwater Marine crew. Soon it becomes apparent that Winter responds to Sawyer when she responds to no one else, and when the infection forces Clay to remove her tale, he sticks by her during her recovery.

From beginning to end, Dolphin Tale is a heartbreaking and uplifting tale that captures the pinnacles of the human and animal spirit. When Winter responds to Sawyer, he also responds to her - opening up and engaging in something like he never had before. Even Sawyer's mother Lorraine (Ashley Judd) finds that his education and experiences at the marina far exceed the worth of the summer school coursework he wants to ditch. Any animal lover will tell you that they have experienced firsthand or know of a pet that quickly overcomes their disability and prospers. When Kyle comes back from the service with an injury that leaves him partially paralyzed and need of a leg brace, Sawyer gets the notion that a prosthetic tale could work for Winter, too. An animal's ability to overcome deficiencies seems to sometimes far exceed our own.

Dolphin Tale is a true family film, enjoyable for everyone. From the slapstick of a pelican named Roofus, to the inspiration of the dolphin Winter who plays herself in the film, to the hope and joy of a young girl whose mother drives eight hours from Atlanta to catch a glimpse of a dolphin who still swims in spite of her missing tail, to the relevant benefits of Winter as a role-model for children and adults alike who have lost appendages, Dolphin Tale will delight, uplift, and mostly likely bring a tear to your eye.

WORTH: Matinee and DVD

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